This week’s choices are from our editor, James Diamond.
Try to forget the sheer boredom of last year’s The Bourne Narcolepsy by diving into one of the better sequels of recent times. Paul Greengrass’s first go at the helm of a Bourne film, and it’s a cracker of an action movie, with Matt Damon returning as the super soldier pushed to the edge when sinister forces won’t let him enjoy his retirement. Brilliant support from Brian Cox and Joan Allen ensure that the film feels more heavyweight than the majority of its peers.
Tuesday 16th April – Stalag 17 (More4, 11.10am)
As is now pretty standard in these pieces, I’m going to suggest a film that I’ve got tucked away on my unnamed DVR box and still haven’t got around to watching. This week’s choice in that category is about as low-risk a recommendation as they come though, what with it being a Billy Wilder film that’s firmly entrenched in the IMDB Top 250. William Holden stars as a wheeler-dealer POW during WWII who suddenly finds himself in grave danger when his men suspect him of being an informer for the Germans. Also on today is Blue Valentine (Film4, 11.20pm), and all you need to know about that is that it stars Ryan Gosling.
Wednesday 17th April – Tropic Thunder (BBC3, 10pm)
One of the better examples of the type of high concept comedy that Hollywood seems to churn out by the shedload these days, usually starring some combination of Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, and Steve Carrell. What elevates Tropic Thunder is its happiness to poke fun at the very industry that made it, from Robert Downey Jr’s character’s extreme method acting, to Tom Cruise cameo as a vile Hollywood producer.
Thursday 18th April – 24 Hour Party People (Film4, 11.30pm)
The first of the Steve Coogan/Michael Winterbottom ‘ego’ collaborations (with their latest The Look of Love out this month), and probably their best. It charts the rise of ‘Madchester’, Factory Records, and the brilliant Tony Wilson (surely an inspiration for Alan Partridge). My local indie nightclub seem to have this playing on mute in a constant loop most Saturday nights, so I’ll be taking this rare opportunity to actually listen to the brilliant soundtrack. Word of warning though, DO NOT watch Knowing (Film4, 9pm) directly beforehand. I didn’t know it was possible for a Nic Cage film to be this bad.
Friday 19th April – The Shawshank Redemption (ITV2, 9pm)
Look, I know it’s obvious. I know it’s a clichéd choice, and I know that you’ve probably already seen it before. That doesn’t stop The Shawshank Redemption being the best film on TV today. Its number one rating on IMDB may be overstating its brilliance slightly, but away from the hype it is still a wonderfully written and directed film (adapted from Stephen King’s novella by Frank Darabont, the man who brought The Walking Dead to our screens), driven by two utterly magnificent central performances from Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.
Saturday 20th April – Parenthood (ITV, 10.45pm)
Now and again a film comes along with an ensemble cast that is so perfect, with everyone at the top of their game, that you just want to sit back and watch them work. Parenthood is one of those films, with brilliant performances from Steve Martin, Mary Steenburgen, Rick Moranis, Dianne West, Tom Hulse, Keanu Reeves, and a young Joaquin Phoenix. A film with great humour, and a lot of heart.
Sunday 21st April – Toy Story & Toy Story 2 (ITV2, 12.10pm)
I know this is cheating a little, but I’m not going to turn down the chance to recommend a double-bill of Toy Story and Toy Story 2. My site, my rules. Toy Story is the film that made Pixar famous, and possibly even saved Disney. Even now the animation looks great, but it’s the smart script (including input from none other than Joss Whedon) and top-notch voice performances from the likes of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen that make this one of the finest family films ever made. Toy Story 2 doesn’t quite live up to the first film, but if you’re watching the first you’d need to have had your mind melded not to hang around for the sequel. Those in search of the perfect family film day can probably fit in a quick toilet break before Jurassic Park (ITV, 3.55pm) starts. Heaven.